Cleveland State-Wake Forest Quotes
March 19, 2009
CLEVELAND STATE QUOTES
LARRY WAHL: We welcome the eighth and final team here today, Cleveland State Vikings, the 13th seed in the Midwest region, champions of the Horizon League. We will open it up for questions.
Q. Are we making too much of the size differential between the two clubs? And do you guys feel, I don't want to use the word "intimidation," but do you feel uneasy about going up against a team that big? Can you compare it to any other team you've seen?
CEDRIC JACKSON: I would say we're not nervous because we've been prepared to play teams like this all season long. To compare them, they're pretty much like Kansas State. You know, we've played against big teams like Syracuse, Washington, so we know what we were facing early in the year, but it prepared us for Friday.
Q. Cedric, by my tabulation you were nine days old when Cleveland State beat Bobby Knight in 1986. What do you remember about that game?
CEDRIC JACKSON: (Laughing).
Q. How much is that game a part of the legacy in your program, and how much awareness of it is there?
CEDRIC JACKSON: Well, when we accomplished our goal, you know, they brought it up a lot. Really just following in the footsteps they are. But we're trying to reach a further goal than what they did. It's a great honor to do what they did, but we're trying to exceed more.
Q. Is that a storybook run that the '86 team had? Is that something you can draw on in this situation since you're underdogs again?
CHRIS MOORE: Being a guy from Cleveland, that's something that's still talked about in the city all the time. It's definitely an honor to be compared to those guys, but kind of like Cedric said, we're trying to create our own legacy and step out of that shadow and be something else that's remembered in the city of Cleveland.
Q. J'Nathan and George, can you talk about never having seen Wake Forest before and maybe having to cram to prepare for a team, not just Wake Forest but for any team in this type of a setting, what that's like, trying to learn what they do in a short amount of time?
GEORGE TANDY: Well, we've been doing it all year, coming out and playing a game, then having to prepare again for another game. I think it's going to be a little difficult because it's a better team. But I don't think it's going to be any different than any other game we've played.
J'NATHAN BULLOCK: Yeah, just to piggyback off what George said, how our league conference is set up is we play on Thursday and Saturday, so you've only got a day turnaround to prepare for that Saturday game. So that kind of gives us a little edge in this setting.
Q. J'Nathan, not to give away your secrets, but what's the key to going up against guys this big for you?
J'NATHAN BULLOCK: Just pay attention to the little things like boxing out, don't lose a man on the offensive end because they're tall and athletic. So you've got to keep a body on guys, and just small things like that.
Q. Do you guys draw any help from the fact that Wake Forest, if they've been one thing that's not been good, they've been very inconsistent, so you don't really know what kind of team you're going to get here tomorrow. You might get a team that won 16 in a row and you might get a team that was 6 8 coming down the stretch. Does that make it a little bit harder to come to the arena tomorrow because you know how you guys are, how you think you're going to play, but you have no idea what you might get with these guys?
CEDRIC JACKSON: Well, we've heard about them a lot, and we say that they were the No. 1 team in the country for a reason, so you know, we're treating them that way. We know they're a great, explosive team, so we're not really worried about their statistics.
We're just going to come into this game ready, focused, really focused, and just preparing that it's going to be a really tough match tomorrow night.
CHRIS MOORE: Kind of going off what Cedric said, this is the tournament, and you've got to expect you're going to get every team's best on any given night. We're preparing for their best, and I know they're preparing to get our best. We've got to go out there and be ready to play, and I'm sure they feel the same way.
Q. This is for Cedric and for Chris: You know they like to run, you know they like to get the ball out. They're 17 1 when they've scored 80 or more. How do you keep them from scoring 80 or more tomorrow?
CEDRIC JACKSON: It's all about their defense, trying to take away the things that they do best. It's going to be a hard thing trying to do that. But you know, our makeup is defense, and that's going to be really key tomorrow, to try to keep them off the glass that leads them into transition because we know they're a really great transition team.
CHRIS MOORE: And also they have great individual scorers. They've got three or four guys that can go out and put up good numbers on any given night, and it's very important for us not only to focus on our individual assignments, but to also be there and help each other and make sure that as a team our defense is really on point tomorrow night.
Q. Cedric, you said your makeup is defense. How would you describe your defense?
CEDRIC JACKSON: I would say our defense is Coach always says we're one of the best defensive teams in the league, so you know we just want to do our best to get dirty. If we get cuts, we get cuts. If we bleed, we bleed, but our makeup is to play the best defense we can and go hard and take nothing easy.
Q. As a follow up to that, are you guys strictly man to man? Do you play any zone?
CEDRIC JACKSON: For the most part I would say yes, we are man to man but sometimes we mix it up, but for the most part maybe 90 to 95 percent, I would say, yes, we are a man to man defense.
Q. Do you feel you'll have to deal with a frustration level if you can't do the things going in that you want to do? Have you talked about that, like a plan B?
J'NATHAN BULLOCK: I wouldn't necessarily say a plan B, but you try to execute the game plan as perfectly as you can. Of course they're long, lanky, it's going to stop a lot of things we're trying to do. But if we stick to the plan, it should succeed.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you, guys. Appreciate it.
Coach, Gary Waters, Cleveland State Vikings, if you want to open it up with some remarks about your team, your play this season, making the tournament and your time in Miami.
COACH GARY WATERS: Well, you know, obviously we're excited on being here. You know, you don't get an opportunity in three years to get to a place that quickly. These young men, I think, worked extremely hard to get to this point. All these young men, they're different in different phases, but they come out and play the same. So when you see a team go out and play hard and defend the way we do, you know they all play together, and that's what we do.
We're playing a very difficult foe. I'll be honest with you there. This team has a lot of strengths that we'll have to negate. If we don't do that we're going to be in trouble. We've got to go out and take away some of the things that they do and try to accentuate some of the things that we do.
Q. You were pretty emotional in the Conseco Fieldhouse after you guys won. What was kind of going through your mind at that point?
COACH GARY WATERS: Well, we had fought to get to that point. We had played Butler twice, and it was two point games each time and it came down to the last shot, and if you go back even a year ago, we played we were the second place team, and we played them the last game of the season and could have beat them at the end there and then we go to the tournament and lose to them there. For us it was an excitement to go on that court and beat that team, but also an excitement for me to see these guys for when I got there didn't understand what it took to win. When I got there we had lost 60 and 80 games. Whatever I did there wasn't going to make a difference there. Just to give them that opportunity, and I know they would really enjoy that experience.
Q. Do you draw back to any of the Kent State days in terms of preparing, because you know what it takes to prepare a lower seed team to beat a higher seed team. What sort of tips would you give a coach in your situation?
COACH GARY WATERS: Well, this is a big stage, and you have to come here and don't let the stage overwhelm you, and when I say that, I don't mean the coaches. The coaches are going to do what they do, but it's the players. They're going to come out here starry eyed and see what's going on. So we have to make sure that they understand the terrain. If they come out here and are just excited to be here, that's how fast they'll leave, just excited to be here.
The other thing I think is you've got to control the tempo. As a mid level team if you don't control the tempo, you let the high major team play their tempo, the game is over. This team wants to score 81 points a game and they want to get out and have highlight reels. If we allow that to happen, we'll enjoy some of them highlight reels, too. So we've got to shed some of that stuff now.
Q. To sort of follow up on that, do you think when a mid level team keeps the game closer, do you think the pressure goes more to a major conference team the longer it goes into the game?
COACH GARY WATERS: I would think so because they're expected to win and they're expected to do what they've supposed to do, and when a team is close now, the lower pressure goes, and people think, hey, there's a possibility, then in essence the crowd swings over, and that's where the problem comes. Now everyone is rooting against you.
So you know, it's a tough thing. I know for them. But this is a team that has gone through the ACC. You go through the ACC, if you ain't ready to play in this, you're in deep trouble. I think they're not going to take us for granted. They're coming in and they're going to play, but we've got to do our thing. We have to go out and control the tempo of this game.
Q. They have a lot of things that they do well, but have you broken it down where you can't stop everything, but if there's five things you try to stop three of them?
COACH GARY WATERS: Do you want me to tell you that and then they write it down and then all of a sudden they've got it on the board? What's going on?
Q. Is there a level or frustration level that you're going to have to tell your guys you can't win every aspect of the game?
COACH GARY WATERS: For us to stay with this team at all, we can't let them dominate transition. If they get in transition, that means they're getting up and down the court and scoring points. So we have to allow that.
The second thing is we have to keep them off the glass. They have good size and they're going to attack the glass, so we have to make sure we put somebody on them and keep them off the glass. And then we're going to have to hit some baskets. That's another thing mid level teams struggle with playing the high majors. When I used to coach at Kent I used to love going up against them, but one of the things I've always seen is that when we hit the high majors, the size factor becomes an issue. We've got guys that can run and jump but they've got guys four inches taller that can run and jump. That makes a big difference. We've got to make sure that we do what we do but do it a little harder.
Q. Do you draw any comfort at all from the fact that Wake Forest is a very young team, and they have shown signs in the fading part of the season to be, I think a good word would be "inconsistent"?
COACH GARY WATERS: Well, at one point I thought they were a very young team. They just have a few young players out there on the floor. But after you take those three guys off, everybody else is juniors and seniors. You know, what I have learned in coaching is that if you have some depth that has experience, it really helps the younger guys. You know, they're not as young as you think, and I'm going to tell you another reason why they're not as young. You go through a whole year of the ACC, you grow old going through that. I think they're matured. You know how you say when freshmen come in, by the time they leave they're sophomores in that first year. That's what happened with these guys. They're sophomores. I think they may have put that all aside because now for many of us, it's a new season, and everybody is getting excited about making this run. They think that, hey, they've got a chance to make a run.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you, Coach.
WAKE FOREST QUOTES
LARRY WAHL: We've got the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the fourth seed in the Midwest region. They reached the NCAA as an at large bid, and we have Harvey Hale, Ishmael Smith and L.D. Williams. At this time we'll open it up for questions.
Q. I'd just like Ish and L.D. to comment on what you think the team's state of mind is right now after you had the break, but then you had the bad loss in the ACC Tournament and kind of where you are right now going into this tournament.
ISHMAEL SMITH: I think the team's state of mind is in good hands.
We're good. I think we had a couple really good days of practice. We did a great scouting report, Coach Battle did a great scouting report on Cleveland State. Just like a lot of teams coming into this tournament, they've lost, so we know what we have to do and now it's just time to go out there and execute on the floor.
L.D. WILLIAMS: I guess kind of like Ish said, there's a lot of teams that are coming here with a loss. You know it's not any different for us, we just know we have to prepare a little bit harder for the next game. Win or survive, that's how it is, so we know we've got to be the best team tomorrow night between us and Cleveland State, and we'll come out with a win.
Q. What part of the Cleveland State game concerns you? And did you watch tapes of when they played Syracuse, which obviously was their biggest win of the year?
L.D. WILLIAMS: I mean, they do a lot of things well. Their point guard Jackson pushes the ball up the floor a little bit. He's a jet.
We've got to corral him on the defensive end. They've got a regular guy Bullock on the inside, he's pretty tough on the inside. There's a couple parts of their game that we really have to key in. But basketball is an all around sport, you've got to rebound the ball. Any one key area you slip up in could cost you the game.
ISHMAEL SMITH: I think they pretty much do everything well, like L.D. said. Their defense is the one thing that kind of concerns me the most. It's kind of Duke ish, where they're really into you, really pressuring the basketball and denying the basketball, and you really have to be strong around those guys and make strong, hard rips, strong passes and make strong drives.
But they're a good team. They didn't get here for no reason, and we know the problems they pose to us, and now it's time to solve those problems out on the floor tomorrow.
Q. First time for all of guys in the tournament. I know it's the first time for Cleveland, too, but you guys, any concern there under the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament?
ISHMAEL SMITH: I think Coach has done a great job of making the whole situation light of the whole situation. This is a game, and we've played it since we was little. Obviously this is the NCAA Tournament, this is the biggest stage besides the NBA Finals ever. So it could be a little bit of pressure, but I think Coach Gaudio has done a good job of taking the pressure off of us. We've played it since we was young, played it since we was little, and go out there and play the game as if it was December 30th instead of March.
Coach has done a great job, and you've got to go out there with no pressure and play the game with no conscience and hope for the best.
HARVEY HALE: I'm just having a great time. I'm just trying to seize the moment. I've been telling the team, "You don't have a tomorrow, just got to play hard." Our coaches and coaching staff are telling us to play hard on each possession and just knowing the hardest team is going to win. We know that, and we're just going to try to bring some energy and motion.
L.D. WILLIAMS: Kind of like Ish said, it's just another game.
Obviously it's a huge game, but you can't really get wrapped up into everything the media is doing with it and everything like that because you get wrapped up in that, you kind of lose focus of what the main goal is, and obviously that's Cleveland State right now. We've just going to keep ourselves humble, play hard, play smart, and like Ish said, hope for the best.
Q. The last time Cleveland State was in this tournament was in 1986.
They beat Indiana and Bobby Knight that year, one of the games the sort of game that makes the NCAA Tournament what it is. I wonder if you guys are into NCAA Tournament history that way, if you have any awareness of that game, I know it was before your time, and an appreciation for that kind of thing.
ISHMAEL SMITH: You know what, when we were leaving, I think it was on Thursday or Wednesday. Wednesday I think we were leaving and I parked my car, and one of the police officers came up to me and said, "Well, good luck this weekend," and I was like, "Thank you, sir." He said, "You want to know some brief history about Cleveland State?" I was like, "Sure, why not?" He said, "The last time they was in the Tournament was 1986." I was like, "Yes, sir." He said, "And they upset Bobby Knight's Indiana team. Don't let it happen to you guys."
Q. This was on campus?
ISHMAEL SMITH: Yeah, this was on campus. There was a police officer.
So I learned that brief history before we left, so hopefully we won't make that same mistake.
Like I said, those guys are really good, and we know we have to play our best to win.
Q. Did either of you guys know about that?
L.D. WILLIAMS: No.
HARVEY HALE: No.
L.D. WILLIAMS: I didn't know anything. I know it's been a while since they made the tournament, but other than that, that's all I know.
Q. For all three of you guys: Maryland had great success in the ACC Tournament, packing the lanes, giving you the outside shot. I know Cleveland State likes to extend and get in the passing lanes, but you're going to see that defense again. How do you do better this time than you did against Maryland?
HARVEY HALE: I think for us it's being smarter. Our coach always said we play from the shoulder up. We can't just settle for threes.
We've got to pound the inside, we've got to know what Wake Forest basketball is about. We've still got to attack, go inside take good shots, take rhythm threes, take open threes, and when you take open and rhythm threes it's just like when you're working in the gym and it's a lot more easier and your percentages go up. I think it's just about being more smarter.
ISHMAEL SMITH: To piggyback on what Harvey said, we know we're not a great three point shooting team. I went back and looked at the tape on ESPN 360 when we played Maryland, and I think I didn't do a good job of really getting us into our zone offense. I ripped it down there, kicked it out for wide open threes, but as a team we have to know that's not our strength. As Coach said earlier, 10 to 12 threes, that's a good sizable amount for us, and it doesn't have to be more than that.
I don't think I did a good job of getting us into a good zone offense where we could hit the high posts and get some easy lay ups driving to the lane, and getting to the foul line. So we've worked all week on that and hopefully we won't make that same mistake when we see it again.
L.D. WILLIAMS: I think a lot played into it was we weren't getting a lot of stops in that game, and that really catapults our offense.
We're a team that gets in the lane and runs and scores at the basket.
If we don't really get stops, it really hinders what we do in the half court. We've just going to lock in on defense and get stops so we really can get our offense going.
Q. After the game, Jeff really seemed to take the loss pretty hard, and it seemed like in his comments this week he's really bounced back, all you guys have. What have you done in practice to make sure that you forgot about Maryland and you're going to attack tomorrow?
HARVEY HALE: I think it's just the fact of us wanting to win so bad.
We have really competitive guys on our team. I don't think nobody, unless you come to our practices, you don't understand how hard we guard against each other. We're scrapping against each other, just everybody wants to win. And Jeff, he just had a sense of focus because he knows he's our scorer. He's starting to take advantage of the team, more ownership, and he knows he has to score and he's been more aggressive in practice. Usually he's like more passive, but now he's shooting the shots and he knows that we want him to shoot it. So that helps a lot, especially when you're shooting, guarding and you know you're a scorer, when your coaching staff and your players want you to shoot the ball.
ISHMAEL SMITH: From the team's standpoint, I think the biggest thing that we might have did wrong in the ACC Tournament game was actually more mental than anything. We went into that game a little tighter than we were supposed to be, not as aggressive as we usually are, pushing the basketball, aggressive defense. We were kind of playing a little timid, and that's one thing that we have to learn from coming into the NCAA Tournament, that you've got to play aggressive. You've got to play loose. I know it's not another game, but you have to play it that way in your mind, and if we do that, I think we'll be in good hands.
Q. For all three of you, a stat jumped out at me the other day, and I didn't realize it, 17 1 when you score 80 or more, 7 5 when you score less than 80. You know how the NCAA Tournament is when you get into these situations and you expect lower scoring games because of the situation. How do you combat the frustration level of perhaps a lower scoring game?
L.D. WILLIAMS: We kind of know how it's going to be. Coach explained that to us after the first TV time out it might be 10 6, 10 8. We know how it's going to be. It's just about being able to get through that part of the game, get through that part of a stretch where we might not score like we normally do. I mean, this is the NCAA Tournament. We know teams really play defense, especially Cleveland State. We know they're one of the better defensive teams in the country. It's just about how well we execute in the half court because we know a lot of the times we might not be able to get out and run, so we've just got to be able to execute in half court, run to our spots, get in sets quick and be able to dominate that half of the court, as well, and that will get us over the hump.
ISHMAEL SMITH: Obviously as you know we try to get up and down. But for me this week I really tried to concentrate on execution as a point guard because we're not going to be able to like you said, there might be some games where we can't rip and run like we usually do, and it's up to me to get us in some good offense and execute the offense. So that's one thing.
But we're going to continue to push it and continue to push it and push it. And hopefully the next team the team that we're playing against cracks, but Cleveland State, like L.D. said, is a heck of a defensive team, and it's going to be hard to do that, so we're going to have to really execute on our half court offense.
Q. Where's your half court offense right now?
HARVEY HALE: I think it's better than what it was before the year and in the beginning of the year and the beginning of the season. Guys are really working hard and we're really moving the ball, and I think that's what's going to separate us from being good and from being great. From me as a senior I think that's really going to separate us because I remember a time when that's the only thing we could do was execute offense because we really didn't have talented guys, but now we have talented guys, and if we run the offense we'll be really good, and if we can run and execute, we'll be really dangerous. We've just really got to focus on executing offense.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you, guys.
Coach Dino Gaudio, a couple comments on your season and being in the tournament and being here in Miami.
COACH DINO GAUDIO: You know what, I thought we had an outstanding season with one senior on the team, finished second in the ACC. I think we're a second team in the field of 65 with most points scored, I think we're behind Carolina. I think we're third in the field of 65 with field goal percentage offense, and we finished the year at 39 percent field goal percentage defense and was first in the ACC in three point field goal percentage defense.
I thought our kids had a good year statistically, I thought they had an outstanding year finishing where we did in the ACC, and we are just really excited to be in the tournament.
Q. There's such a size disparity between your teams. I don't know if you'd say overconfident to that end, but how do you feel they're going to try to deal with your size?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: You know, I'm not sure what Gary is going to do.
He's really smart. I've just got to try to coach my guys. But we have to try to take advantage of our size by throwing the basketball inside a little bit.
You know, Gary in the past has doubled the post. We've seen that.
We've worked against that. And we've also got to try to get second and third opportunities when we miss shots. And that's been good to us this year.
But that's how we're going to try to implement and be aggressive with respect to our size as opposed to Cleveland State. But you know this, I don't care how big Bullock is, his heart is as big as this table here. They've got some big heart guys that are going to play really, really hard.
Q. Are you a basketball history buff?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: A little bit.
Q. What do you remember about Cleveland State and Indiana in '86?
That's the last time they were in the tournament.
COACH DINO GAUDIO: Yeah, obviously they had a great run with The Mouse. I had a kid that played for me in high school I think ended up beating them. He was the point guard on the Naval Academy team when they went to the final eight.
Q. Who was that?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: Doug Wojcik who is now the head coach over at Tulsa. So I sort of watched that tournament, followed that tournament.
As we all know, what happens in the past doesn't matter, that's all over. The thing I talked to our kids about, too, is all the guys on television, Gottlieb and Brennan and my buddy Digger and Coach Knight, those guys don't matter. I think Coach Brennan had Cleveland State upsetting us, I think Seth Davis has us in the Final Four. That means nothing. Those guys, we've just got to worry about each and every possession. The thing I'm worried about right now is if we get the tip tomorrow, I just want us to have a great offensive execution. If Cleveland gets the tip, I want to start the game with a good defensive possession. That's all we have to worry about, not what happened in the past or looking towards the future.
And I think if we channel our focus like that, we'll be better off for it.
Q. It seems like a game like that would be something that a coach of a higher seeded team could point to going into a first round game. Is that something you would even mention?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: No, obviously like I said, I'm very familiar with the history of it. It doesn't matter.
Q. You don't think your kids need to be told this is a danger game?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: No. They know it's a danger game. Trust me, every game in this tournament is a danger game. We are not for one second we've seen a lot, a lot of film on Cleveland State. They know how good they are. Jackson is terrific in transition, Bullock is as good an inside outside guy, can shoot the three, can put it on the floor, they pick and pop with him. Cole is playing really well the last five or six games. It's a tough game. They know it's a tough game.
Q. How do you go about preparing a team for something as new and exciting as possibly disconcerting as an NCAA Tournament?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: Yeah, like I said, I think we've just got to try to narrow our focus. I told them, don't make the moment bigger than it is. There's a tendency to do that as they watch the games and we come into the arena, and all of a sudden the game gets to be a little bigger than like I said, we're just talking about let's try to win the next possession.
Dan knows this; we talk about with our team, let's win the four minute segments to the TV time outs. And when we come to the huddle after all of our games, we come to the huddle, whether it's 15:50 or right at the 16:00 minute mark, we could see it on the scoreboard then, but what did we do in that four minutes? Coach, we won 10 4.
I'll go in the huddle and go, fellas, we just won that clip 10 4. Next one, now we've at the 12:00 TV time out. What was the score in that clip? Coach, they outscored us 6 4. We lost by two in that four minute clip.
I just want them focusing on what's right at hand, and I think if we do, we'll be better off for it.
Q. Can you sort of take us through just a little bit of what went wrong in the ACC Tournament from your perspective now that you've had a while to look at that, and what particularly you want to go right that went wrong there?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: We missed shots. I hope we make shots. You know, we missed 52 shots. We only had nine turnovers but we missed 52 shots.
We've got to shoot the ball a little bit better. We've got to throw the ball inside a little bit more.
We lost by 11 to a very good basketball team, a team that's in the NCAA Tournament, and when I walked in the room, they were up eight with nine minutes to go. We didn't lose to I don't even want to mention a name, ABC University, we lost to the Maryland Terrapins.
They're pretty good.
Q. There's been all that talk about the three point shooting is the reason for the loss in Maryland, but another stat that jumped out at me was just the lack of transition buckets for you guys and the inability to get defensive stops and then go up the floor. What, if anything, have you addressed in practice to make sure you get back to running and running and running?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: Yeah, we want to run, and like L.D. said, he's a pretty astute young man, it all starts off your defense. I think Maryland shot 43 against us, which is a little bit higher than our season average of 39 I think it's 39.6. When we get stops, we can get runouts. We just got to keep working on pushing the ball, running the lanes. You know, and the NCAA Tournament is played a little closer to the vest. We want to just run and push it. But if it's a low scoring game, we've got to pull those runs out, too. We've won in some great places in some tough venues at BYU, at Clemson, at Virginia, at Maryland. So I think we won Maryland what was it, 63 61, 65 63? We've won high scoring games and we've won low scoring ones.
Q. Can I ask you a question about how with the youth you've got on this team how the tournament can help you? I mean, young players have a tendency during the season to overlook an opponent you really doesn't want them to overlook. I don't see how they can overlook anybody in a tournament, and I don't think you have to tell them very much about that.
COACH DINO GAUDIO: No, they know. We've seen a lot of tape on them, as have our kids. And I like to show our players the other team at their best. When we played Carolina, we put highlights together of Carolina at their best, of Duke at their best, and I tell them that.
We got ready for BYU, and it looked like they were the Lakers, you know what I mean? And same thing with Cleveland State. I show them Cleveland State playing their very best. They're not going to overlook those guys for a second.
Q. I didn't necessarily mean that game; I mean in any game that comes up in this tournament, it's kind of hard to overlook anybody.
COACH DINO GAUDIO: Right, I agree with you. You know, they've been playing basketball since they were yea high, and they've watched the games on television. They know about all the upsets. They know about the George Mason runs to the Final Four. They know all about that stuff.
Q. What about your inability in that 8 6 stretch at the end of the year to pound the ball inside where your strength really is, and by not doing that, not shooting it very well from outside?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: Well, as you know, we won prior to the ACC Tournament six of our last seven games. Our one loss was in a pretty tough gym to play in, Cameron Indoor, where we were down 82 80 with a chance to get a stop and get the ball back.
We've thrown the ball inside those games. I don't think there's anybody that scores more in the paint in the ACC than Wake Forest.
Q. My question is overlapping a little bit, but you heard what I asked the players about the status right now of the half court offense where you feel like you are a half court offense? And how important is that going to be?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: I think it's going to be important, and we've worked really hard at it. You know, you go through little peaks and valleys in the season. I think after the Maryland game, we were able to get their attention back a little bit more. You know, they concentrated a little bit more, and we've done you know, Cleveland State is going to Gary is going to, I think, do what he does. He's out, he's extended, he's in the passing lanes. He plays a diamond in one, he plays an inverted triangle in two. We've worked on those a lot. He has a little bit of two three in his pocket. We've gone against each of those.
I think the advantage as opposed to doing it during our season is we had four days of preparation for this game. Heck, our last three of our last four games we played Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, where the games are coming right after the other. You have very little time to practice. We've had four very good days. Our shoot around to follow. I think those kids are confident and feeling good about where we are in the half court.
Q. Playing so late on Friday night and practically the whole first round is done, do you have some strategy to keep your players from getting antsy, and tomorrow in particular are you going to take them anywhere? Are you going to just keep them in the hotel busy? What are you going to do?
COACH DINO GAUDIO: We're going to let them sleep in a little longer so the day will be a little shorter. We have a practice at one of the local universities, which we always do on game day. Just after that we'll come back, our pregame meal is four hours prior to tip off, and if they want to come over to the games, we encourage it.
The thing that's nice about the NCAA Tournament, they have tickets for the kids to see the other games. If they want to come over, hey, they're more than welcome to come over.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you very much.
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